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Microcirculation. 2011 Feb;18(2):102-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1549-8719.2010.00071.x.

MEK5 is activated by shear stress, activates ERK5 and induces KLF4 to modulate TNF responses in human dermal microvascular endothelial cells.

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Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8089, USA.



ECs lining arteries respond to LSS by suppressing pro-inflammatory changes, in part through the activation of MEK5, ERK5 and induction of KLF4. We examined if this anti-inflammatory pathway operates in human ECs lining microvessels, the principal site of inflammatory responses.


We used immunofluorescence microscopy of human skin to assess ERK5 activation and KLF4 expression in HDMECs in situ. We applied LSS to or overexpressed MEK5/CA in cultured HDMECs and assessed gene expression by microarrays and qRT-PCR and protein expression by Western blotting. We assessed effects of MEK5/CA on TNF responses using qRT-PCR, FACS and measurements of HDMEC monolayer electrical resistance. We used siRNA knockdown to assess the role of ERK5 and KLF4 in these responses.


ERK5 phosphorylation and KLF4 expression is observed in HDMECs in situ. LSS activates ERK5 and induces KLF4 in cultured HDMECs. MEK5/CA-transduced HDMECs show activated ERK5 and increased KLF4, thrombomodulin, eNOS, and ICAM-1 expression. MEK5 induction of KLF4 is mediated by ERK5. MEK5/CA-transduced HDMECs are less responsive to TNF, an effect partly mediated by KLF4.


MEK5 activation by LSS inhibits inflammatory responses in microvascular ECs, in part through ERK5-dependent induction of KLF4.

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